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KOEHLERS POINT - LAKE TSCHIDA - This editor/photographer drove out to the Koehlers Point area to photograph the progress of the construction of the new road into the Koehlers Point campground so the general public would know how the actual construction of the "NEW" road was progressing and when the campground and boat ramp might be opened for use.
It took Corey Roth less than 10 minutes to drive out on his 4-wheeler and confront me with filthy language and threats.
This was not the first time dealing with the Roths as they held me against my will on Tuesday, May 31, 2016 as I had finished photographing the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) reclassification of the area and blocking the Koehlers Point campground with metal stakes. It took the Grant County Sheriff to convince them to release me.
The Grant County States Attorney Grant Walker stated to me by telephone on Monday June 13, 2016 that he would not press charges against the Roths even though I had filed the complaint asking him to do so and that their complaint against me for trespassing would not be charged as well because the incident did not rise to the level of "CRIMINALITY".
I was not on their property today (June 14, 2016) but rather on the county road and even Roth's cell phone photos/videos should illustrate it.
Many photos from archives show that he has put a "NO TRESPASSING" sign on the county road which I would suppose is illegal and that the property line was approximately 200-300 feet away from where I parked on the county road and took these photos above and below.
As I was leaving he stood in the middle of the road blocking me while taking photos or video with his cell phone. As I continued to drive around him he beat on my window, I assume with his cell phone.
I then met his wife Jennifer Roth blocking the road with a 4-wheeler taking photos/video of me leaving with a tablet like computer/phone all the while smiling at me. I drove around her partially into the grass and left the area completely and called the Grant County Sheriff to document the incident.
More to this story could be written but the photo above says it all.
BISMARCK, ND - The editor of Grant County ND News Dot Com met briefly with Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) Area Manager David Rosenkrance and Division Manager Joe Hall yesterday to discuss the issue of the closing of the Koehlers Point campground and boat ramp and the reclassification of the area to "DAY USE" only.
Mr. Rosenkrance reiterated the point that there is to be no vehicle traffic into the campground and that it is a "WALK IN" "DAY USE" only area.
According to sources who live on the other side of the lake and even those of the Red Rock Resort there have been people from the Red Rock Resort ignoring the signage and driving around the staked barrier down into the campground.
Those persons who violate the signage by driving on BOR lands can be prosecuted civilly and/or criminally under the "PROTECTION OF ARCHEOLOGICAL RESOURCES" acts of ARPA and 43 CFR 7.4, 7.14 through 7.17, 7.36, and 7.37.
Mr. Rosenkrance further stated that the BOR's only interest is to follow the rules and regulations of the Department of the Interior and the BOR. He also said that he is confident that the Roths will agree to the requirements of the "UNENCUMBERED PUBLIC ACCESS EASEMENT" for entry into the campground over their private road sections that intersect with the federal roads access.
It should be noted that Division Manager Scott Hettinger has previously stated that Lake Tschida is the only recreational area where private roads intersect federal, state or county roads to his knowledge.
As it has been written many times if the Roths do not agree to all the federal requirements and if the Tri-Cities Joint Job Development Authority (TCJJDA) also does not agree, the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) will begin the NEPA process of closing the campground "PERMANENTLY" and forever classifying it as a "WALK-IN-WILDLIFE AREA" only.
LAKE TSCHIDA KOEHLERS POINT UPDATE
According to a recent interview by this editor of a Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) official the campground and boat ramp will remain closed until the Roths comply with the government's requirements for the unencumbered public access easement pertaining to the road.
The Roths claim it is now their "PRIVATE" road since the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) closed the campground. This is not the case according to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR).
The Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) official stated that the road is "PUBLIC" and falls under the North Dakota Century Code "OPENING AND VACATING HIGHWAYS" Chapter 24-07-01 - Public Roads By Prescription and 24-07-02 - Established Roads Are Public Highways.
The Roths have submitted multiple proposals and not one of them has complied with all of the government's requirements.
It is likely the campground will remain closed through the 4th of July weekend even if the Roths next easement proposal is approved by the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR). The proposal would then have to be approved by the Tri-Cities Joint Job Development Authority (TCJJDA) at their next regularly scheduled meeting which would not be until July 16th. After that the TCJJDA would have to submit a letter to the BOR to resume management and the BOR would have to approve the request by the TCJJDA. The Grant County Commissioners would then need to convene and approve the easement.
This process could take up to 60 days.
Koehlers Point Campground Is Now Closed To All Vehicle Traffic - Boat Launching - Camping - Campfires.
The Grant County Sheriff had to intervene in order for him to be let go from being held against his will.
Not approaching the Roths was key in not escalating the incident as it has been reported by several people they have been know to be extremely abominable when people they don't like are in, near or on their property chasing them off shouting four-letter words.
The photo on the right shows the Roths talking with Grant County Sheriff John Foss.
This is tantamount to fencing in these people by keeping them from leaving using the road they have a legal right to use.
As a gesture of good faith the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) kept the boat ramp open and removed the chains and locks on the vault toilets for Memorial weekend.
A small but popular camping area and boat ramp on Lake Tschida will be closed except for walk-ins and the boat ramp removed as of May 28 because of a dispute with a neighboring property owner.
The Bureau of Outdoor Reclamation, manager of the Heart Butte Dam reservoir, will close Koehler’s Point, located on the north side of the lake, because it’s unable to acquire a road easement leading to the public-use area.
BOR spokeswoman Patience Hurley said the point will be open to walk-in use only after the deadline unless the situation changes.
The issue came to a head when Corey Roth, who owns some of the land on the access road, set up fences and speed bumps that made access to the point unsafe, Hurley said.
Hurley said the BOR couldn’t continue to operate the site with unsafe road conditions and attempted to work with Roth, Grant County and Tri-Cities JDA, the lake recreation manager, but couldn’t reach a deal.
Roth said he did record a new public easement across his land to Koehler Point, one that provides a roadway between 18 and 33 feet wide, depending on the terrain.
“I’m square on my end. They (BOR) wanted it and they got it. If it’s not good enough, I don’t care. If they threaten to take away the boat ramp for the public, that’s in their court,” Roth said.
Hurley said the BOR requires a full 33-foot easement and was never allowed to review the easement before it was recorded at the Grant County Courthouse in April.
Roth operates a private Red Rock Resort and said his campers will have to use a different boat ramp access as a result.
Koehler’s Point consists of 10 primitive camping spots, a ramp and vault toilets. It’s managed by the Tri-Cities JDA, which has the recreation contract for camping and day use.
Mark Stelter, spokesman for the Tri-Cities group, said Koehler’s Point has cost more to manage than it generates in camping income, but he said it will be missed by people who enjoy the quiet and handy access to the lake.
Hurley said the BOR plans to conduct an environmental assessment and hold public meetings to determine best use for the area, which will temporarily be designated as walk-in only until a new use is designated. She said the BOR doesn’t have enough property to build an access road in because its property is partially edged by a slumping embankment.
“We don’t want that point closed — it’s a fantastic area. It’s in the best interest of the public that it not be closed,” Hurley said.
CLICK HERE FOR THE ORIGINAL STORY
The following abbreviated (and somewhat paraphrased) transcript has been taken from the Grant County Commission video of February 16, 2016 in which the Grant County Commissioners, Grant County Sheriff John Foss and Grant County States Attorney Elizabeth Ebert discuss the proposal/demands for the settlement of the Lake Tschida Koehlers Point campground road issue. One must listen to the video for the EXACT statements!
Content of video by time codes...
53:42 - Commission Keith Payne states "What would the purpose of him (Corey) issuing the county an easement be?"
59:00 - Commissioner Don Roth states "Years ago the only way the county would fix his road was if he (Corey) would take the fence out so people could get through and for safety issues." "That became an issue when he didn't do it because the Bureau of Reclamation gave in to his (Corey) demands ."
59:41 - States Attorney Elizabeth Ebert states "Corey's subdivision changes things." Commissioner Roth states "He (Corey) needs to build a private road for his people." States Attorney Ebert states "Does he (Corey) have a Home Owners Agreement?"
1:00:34 - Sheriff John Foss states "He (Corey) doesn't want him (the Sheriff) patrolling his property." States Attorney Ebert states "It (Corey's private gates) can be gated but NOT PADLOCKED!"
1:08:09 - Commissioner Roth states "Why didn't people go somewhere else and buy property instead of renting from him (Corey) and avoid the hassles since the entire area is congested?"
1:08:23 - Sheriff Foss states "It's not just trailers out there (Red Rock Resort) but people are building decks, patios and even garages."
1:08:32 - States Attorney Ebert states "My opinion is his (Corey) campers would need building permits for every additional structure." (Editor note: Upon checking with the Grant County Auditor Lynn Mutschelknaus building permits at a cost of $15 are required even for farmers although some structures may be exempt from taxation)
1:09:08 - Commissioner Payne states "The commission gets very little information from him (Corey) regarding permits and is supposed to be doing way more than he's (Corey) doing..."it's like pulling 'hen's teeth' "... (referring to Corey).
1:09:50 - States Attorney Ebert states building without a permit is an "A" Misdemeanor."
Editor note: An "A" Misdemeanor as defined in the North Dakota Century Code is punishable by a $3,000 fine and/or 1 year in jail.
The following abbreviated transcript has been taken from the Grant County Commission video of January 5, 2016 in which Corey and Jennifer Roth, owners of the Red Rock Resort were present to deliver their proposal/demands for the settlement of the Lake Tschida Koehlers Point campground road issue.
Much of the conversation is irrelevant to the issue but as always in any commissioner meeting, banter is present.
The (00:00) refers to the minute and second 'time code' of the remarks made by Corey Roth or Grant County Commissioners Keith Payne or Don Roth or Alton Zenker or Grant County Auditor Lynn Mutschelknaus.
08:00 - Corey Roth states that people drive 35 to 55 MPH on his road.
11:08 - Corey Roth states everything was OK until the TCJJDA got involved.
11:50 - Corey Roth states that the TCJJDA would have to update all of the lake roads if his has to be updated.
13:20 - Corey Roth states that he was blackmailed by the TCJJDA.
13:51 - Corey Roth states that he doesn't need the Red Rock Resort recreation area for his income and that it is his wife's wish to keep it going.
14:09 - Corey Roth states he has been fighting this road issue for 19 years.
14:28 - Corey Roth states to Grant County Sheriff John Foss he wants a written statement from the Lake Tschida manager of what she stated in a meeting. Corey Roth further states the Sheriff refused to do this.
14:34 - Corey Roth states the lake manager made a mistake by sending him a letter.
14:36 - Corey Roth states the TCJJDA started back-peddling.
14:59 - Corey Roth states he wants to be paid for an easement and the TCJJDA refused his request.
15:15 - Corey Roth states he will pay for the road.
15:15 - Corey Roth states he doesn't want to put the county in the position of using tax dollars to pay for the road.
17:14 - Commissioner Keith Payne states he will have to run all of this by the states attorney.
17:30 - Commissioner Keith Payne states he will speak with the TCJJDA.
17:43 - Corey Roth states his proposal will be final.
17:50 - Grant County Auditor Lynn Mutschelknaus asks Corey Roth if he ran this proposal by the TCJJDA and Corey's answer was 'YEP'.
18:00 - Corey Roth states the TCJJDA got smart to his proposal and gave management of Koehlers Point back to the Bureau of Reclamation (BOR) which relieved them of any responsibility.
18:07 - Corey Roth states the Koehlers Point recreation area is 'done' (closed).
18:20 - Corey Roth states the BOR will give back the management of the Koehlers Point campground to the TCJJDA if they accept his terms.
18:24 - Commissioner Don Roth states "then that's their agreement." (referring to the TCJJDA - Commissioner Payne laughs)
18:28 - Commissioner Don Roth states "that's why you want to make sure your ducks are in a row."
18:42 - Corey Roth states if the boat ramp goes away his road proposal becomes VOID.
18:49 - Corey Roth states if the TCJJDA wants leverage against me then I want leverage against them.
18:56 - Corey Roth states if his proposal goes "no place" he should be able to fence off the road to Koehlers Point campground since the road is his property. (note: Corey Roth only owns a small portion of the road as the rest of the road is federal property)
19:11 - Corey Roth states the TCJJDA keeps on working the system.
19:15 - Commissioner Payne states the commission needs to speak with the BOR.
19:30 - Corey Roth states that the BOR lake representative Dave Herr told him that he lied in his conversation.
20:00 - Corey Roth states everything in the Koehlers Point campground is gone - the boat dock, the tables and the restroom is padlocked. Corey Roth further states he still allows the public access even though he doesn't have to.
20:06 - Corey Roth states if his proposal doesn't work he will fence it off and the TCJJDA can get their things out.
21:18 - 24:00 - Nothing is discussed as Corey Roth and his wife Jennifer modify their proposal maps in order for the commissioners to understand where and what he wants.
24:27 - Commissioner Payne states he will run the proposal by the states attorney (2nd time) and "get back a hold of 'ya."
26:02 - Corey Roth states that the BOR told him that it was best for the county commissioners to contact the BOR and then get back to Corey.
26:14 - Corey Roth states the BOR is 'gonna look at his proposal and if they don't agree with it then it's back to square one.
26:17 - Corey Roth states "this is a one time deal...this is what I want...this is the way it's 'gonna be...or close 'er up."
26:30 - Corey Roth states the TCJJDA thought they could 'bluff' him.
26:32 - Corey Roth states he was being forced to give TCJJDA an easement.
26:36 - Corey Roth states the TCJJDA called a meeting, invited him but he said 'NO'.
27:08 - Corey Roth states the TCJJDA tried other things and "that's how we've come to this." (Commissioner Payne laughs)
27:17 - Commissioner Payne (sympathizing with Corey) states he knows Corey has had a long battle with the old JDA and the new TCJJDA and that's unfortunate.
27:37 - Corey Roth states the TCJJDA tried using Game & Fish against him to force him to keep the road open at his expense.
27:50 - After Corey Roth called Game & Fish Corey Roth states Game & Fish told him to get the name of the person who told him the above.
28:08 - Corey Roth states that the Game & Fish man told him that if the TCJJDA started charging for the boat ramps use that it would kill off the lake.
28:42 - Corey Roth states that Game & Fish said if the BOR was 'gonna charge for using boat ramps in cooperation with the TCJJDA that Game & Fish would step in and "quash" it.
28:54 - Corey Roth states Game & Fish will not restock the lake if the boat ramp is charged for.
29:49 - Corey Roth states his son called him while he was on vacation in Arizona telling him that people were cutting his fences in 3 different places to get around the snow drifts.
30:16 - Corey Roth states he told his son to block off the road with snow.
30:40 - Corey Roth speaks about people getting stuck in the snow on his property.
31:01 - Corey Roth states that people are 'STUPID' for getting stuck in the snow and asking him for help to get out.
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